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Forbes is unfair to Howard Stern

I must say I’m disappointed in Forbes.

This is from an article they recently published called “Why is the King of All Media giving away his show?” by which they mean giving it away on the Internet for a free trial:

When Howard Stern signed on with Sirius satellite radio in 2004, the shock jock swore off free radio and its federally mandated decency standards–for life. Last month he found himself suddenly broadcasting free of charge once again. For two days Sirius let listeners tap its Web site and listen to Stern for free, for the first time since his satellite debut in January….. Stern also started temporarily selling episodes of his on-demand cable TV show for a penny apiece, instead of $7.95. Acts of desperation–or savvy moves to reignite his realm in digital radio? Disconnected from his huge daily audience in the old broadcast world, Stern has slipped as a cultural force. His media mentions are down 23% year-to-date compared with 2004. Sirius has 5.1 million subscribers–up 4.4 million since it first signed the self-proclaimed King of All Media–but only a portion of that total tunes in to Stern. Yet on old radio he had a daily audience of 12 million. In truth this is neither an act of desperation nor a a particularly savvy move. It is, rather, the obvious thing to do and – indeed – should have happened long before now. But in this case the obviousness – the idea of smart marketing – is irrelevant to the writer who seems to want to make a broader – and nastier – point (little in the article leads to “savvy,” but many roads lead to “desperate”).

Providing a “free sample” is so obvious, in fact, that Forbes is doing it by publishing this article online and for free.

Or is that an act of desperation?

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